I was present at both debates for mayor and council and it seems clear to me that the Republican mayor and council candidates are pushing for a new fire house. The Democratic mayor and council are in favor of the residents’ opinion. As many of you may know that I am all in favor for helping all those in need, so therefore I am endorsing the Democratic ticket. If you still want to be able to afford to live in Milltown, then please come out on Nov. 8 and vote Eric Steeber for mayor, Joe Pietanza and Randy Farkas for council. Pasquale Parascandolo MILLTOWN
… to plan for the future … for example: - A plan to resolve the flooding problem; - A plan for an immediate action on Office of Emergency Management. - A plan to resolve the future of the electric utility; - A plan to prepare for infrastructure needs for today, tomorrow and the future to avoid further catastrophes. Idle For 4 Long Years! For 4 long years the Republicans have been in the majority on the Milltown Council and for 4 long years the Republican controlled Council came up with NO PLANS! NOW that it is election time they say … we have to plan for the future… THE TRUE PLAN FOR MILLTOWN’S FUTURE! Vote for a Democratic Change! On Tuesday, November 8th Elect: Eric Steeber for Mayor - Randy Farkas & Joe Pietanza for Borough Council DEMOCRATS LOOK TO THE FUTURE! - REPUBLICANS ARE STUCK IN THE PAST!The Milltown Republican candidates…..are asking for your vote! Recently, you received in your mail, a political flyer telling you that it is time
BUT, the Republicans were focused on the firehouse. STOP THE HYPOCRISY! In their campaign literature mailed to your homes, the Republicans stated: Randy Farkas negotiated a second fixed rate contract for 5 additional years. •Republican candidate Stacy Waters voted in favor of the fixed rate contract. •No negotiations took place and Republican Mayor Gloria Bradford signed the contract. They want to ensure the protection of our electric substation and the center of town. •Republican candidates Waters and Dixon did nothing in 4 years to protect the substation and center of town. Ron Dixon ran for office as a Democrat in 2008 Bashing the Republican Party making numerous campaign promises that he has not kept!! TALK ABOUT BEING CONFUSED! THE TRUE PLAN FOR MILLTOWN’S FUTURE! Vote for a Democratic Change! On Tuesday, November 8th Elect: Eric STEEBER - Mayor Randy FARKAS - Council Joe PIETANZA – CouncilTHE REPUBLICANS HAVE CONTROLLED THE COUNCIL THE PAST 4 YEARS! Let’s look at their RECORD!!!
I would like to address the misleading and disingenuous claims that the Milltown Republican candidates posted in the Home News Tribune on October 11, 2011. The only obvious effort the Republican Council took with regard to the relocation of our Electrical Utility Sub-Station was to walk away from the negotiations of 50 Washington Ave. over approximately $300,000.00. The candidates should be embarrassed that they are taking credit for proposals with regard to the substation. I have been proposing we elevate the switchgear building since taking office on January 3rd, 2011. Councilman Ryan and I have participated in many meetings and discussions both pre and post Hurricane Irene and therefore believe we are responsible in great deal for the shift of priority from Fire House to Sub-Station. Clearly our campaign of last year supports thefact that Councilman Ryan and myself are looking out for the best interest of the Borough of Milltown. We debated not only relocation of the Sub-Station but elevation as well. Ironically the Republican Candidates accuse others of making this issue political yet the Republican controlled Council continues to conduct business while excluding the minority from the process. One of the reasons Councilman Ryan and I sat silent during audience comments during the September 12 council meeting was because we wanted to hear the residents’ concerns and complaints and not engage in negative dialogue which clearly was the case for others. It is apparent that Republican candidate’s words carry no weightfor during the entire state of emergency the Republican led leadership of our Fire Department was noticeably absent. This behavior seems to be typical of the lack of leadership demonstrated over the course of the last several years. Let the record also reflect had it not been for my private and public persistence the removal of the train trestle and consideration of other steps towards mitigation would not be part of the current debate. With regard to our efforts to improve our communication with residents we once again have the resources of Middlesex County to thank, much like the fact that the lack of Leadership on the part of the Fire Department led to the need for an inter-local agreement with the Middlesex County Fire Marshall. We are committed to work together with current council and the residents to find the best solutions for Milltown in this great time of need as long as we are fully informed at all times…something that has been addressed with the current council and is well on its way of being rectified. If anyone would like further clarification please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely, George Murray Milltown Borough Councilman
It is well known that The Borough of Milltown was without electricity for 5 days after Hurricane Irene came through and the flood waters rose. For those of us lucky enough to have access to generators, it came as somewhat of a surprise when we plugged in our modems and cable boxes and still had no cable service. Who knew that Cablevision relied on Milltown Electric to deliver their service? At the September 12th Borough Council Meeting, I asked that a representative from the Borough contact Cablevision on behalf of all residents who subscribe to their service. Not receiving the response desired, I took matters in to my own hands and called Cablevision the next day. Initially, they refused to give me a credit for my outage stating that it was not their fault that I lost power. I reasoned that I did have power through my generator and yet when I did what was necessary, I still did not have service. They admitted that they rely on Milltown Electric to deliver their service to residents and granted the credit for my outage. At that point, I inquired about a credit for my fellow residents who are subscribers and who had the same issue. I asked for a “blanket courtesy credit” for all Milltown Subscribers which was promptly rejected. I was told that they will handle these inquiries on a case by case basis. I argued that the cases are virtually the same. The impression was that if a subscriber doesn’t ask, then Cablevision will not issue the credit. So I spread the word with what I said and what my result was in an attempt to help others. Some residents were successful and others were not. However, it should not have come to this. I can’t help but to feel that Cablevision should have done what was right and issued a blanket credit for every Milltown Subscriber. In addition, we will never know if the result may have been different had the Borough made the effort to contact Cablevision on behalf of all resident subscribers. Hurricane Irene sure did expose many things, the least of which was the unwillingness to make a phone call. Respectfully, Joseph Pietanza
As residents of the Borough of Milltown and as candidates, we feel vindicated that Milltown’s Republican majority has finally relented and will allow Milltown’s residents to voice their opinion with regard to an extraordinary capital expenditure. After previously voting along party lines against a public referendum on the issue of a proposed multi-million dollar firehouse, the council will now permit the residents to decide whether the Borough should continue to sell electricity to its residents. Republican Council members conceded their complete lack of understanding of how to operate and manage our electric department. It is extremely unfortunate it took an emotionally charged outcry of nearly 400 residents at the September 12, 2011 Borough Council Meeting to accomplish this. A feasibility study for the utility department has been mentioned by the Council, however this is only one aspect of what is necessary for the residents to determine the viability of the Electric Utility. An in -depth analysis of every aspect of the Electric Utility must be conducted for the residents to properly determine whether to keep and upgrade the utility; or pursue its sale to PSE&G or JCP&L. This includes a complete valuation of assets and liabilities, the cost of property and construction of a new substation, an examination of all areas where the Borough currently saves money by operating the Electrical Utility, including electrical consumption by municipal facilities, street lights and the payment of wages and benefits to Borough employees not associated with the Electrical Utility. Most importantly, an accurate and honest assessment must be made of what financial benefit or liability awaits rate payers, regardless of which option is chosen. While this analysis is conducted, the Borough must implore the Army Corps of Engineers to both examine the current flooding issues and make recommendations to ensure that the flooding will be reduced, if not eliminated. In addition, county, state, and federal resources must be secured to correct this grave situation. Similarly, an Emergency Action Plan must be established with the input of our residents that is both viable and visible to all. The Borough must ensure that shelters are available for displaced residents and that all residents receive immediate access to critical information during times of crisis. In the wake of the events caused by Hurricane Irene, there is an immediate need to take action to ensure these events never occur again in Milltown. We have a plan for improving communications with residents. We have a plan for remedying the flooding problems. We have a plan for conclusively allowing residents to decide if Milltown should remain in the business of selling electricity. And we have a plan for our firehouses. With your support this Election Day, we will, with your consideration and approval, correct the problems and leadership deficiencies exposed by Hurricane Irene. Respectfully, Eric Steeber –Milltown Democratic Candidate for Mayor Randy Farkas-Milltown Democratic Candidate for Borough Council Joe Pietanza-Milltown Democratic Candidate for Borough Council
As a resident and taxpayer in the Borough of Milltown, I am compelled to write this letter concerning the Milltown Firehouses. The fire department justifies a new firehouse based upon the condition of the existing firehouses, which have leaking roofs, wind damaged siding, water accumulation in the crawl space, mold, and inadequate shower and ventilation systems. However, we should have inquired as to how the fire department permitted the building to fall into such deplorable condition. These issues clearly did not happen overnight. As stewards of this public building, the fire department should have notified the Mayor and Council immediately to address these conditions in a timely fashion when the expense would have been minimal. Additionally, despite their deplorable condition, the fire department indicates that the existing firehouses will not be torn down. The South Main St. firehouse will be used for the benefit of the fire department as a museum. Undoubtedly this will require the building to be “repaired” at the tax payer’s expense. The costs of such “repairs” and other undetermined costs, including the finance charges for the bonding and increased construction costs, were not disclosed at the recent Public Safety meeting. These undetermined costs will only increase the price tag of this monumental project, which still remains secondary to the need to relocate Milltown’s Electrical Substation and Public Works from their current location in a flood plain. When pressed on why his committee never looked at another alternative, such as repairing, renovating, and retrofitting the existing structure to bring it up to current codes, the former fire chief responded, “We were never asked to look at that.” This statement illustrates the careless attitude of the fire department leadership. There is a history of questionable decision making by the fire department’s leadership, as illustrated by the appalling behavior of the current fire chief, as documented in recent news articles, the sale of alcohol without a license at the existing fire house, and confrontational attitude of the leadership to anyone objecting to the new firehouse. For these reasons a large number of Milltown residents have lost all confidence in the decision making of the current firehouse leadership. Finally, a quote from the former fire chief, who inquires “When is the right time to spend millions of dollars on a firehouse?” Clearly, based on the current deepening recession, rising taxes and declining property values, unprecedented unemployment, and the immediate need to relocate the Borough’s electric substation and public works garage from the flood plain; the time is certainly not now! At the very least, the construction of a new firehouse is clearly a question for all residents of Milltown to comment upon. For this reason, there must be a public question on this November’s ballot permitting residents to voice their opinion of this significant expense. Sincerely, Barbara Karabinchak
As November election time starts to heat up, so has the debate on the proposed firehouse in Milltown. I attended the safety meeting in February and saw firsthand the existing conditions that the firemen have to deal with. After seeing the presentation, I feel that without a doubt something needs to be done. However, I have to question the approach the elected offices took to resolve this problem. When questioned as to what plan B was, the answer was that there is none because the firemen were only ask to come up with plans for a new firehouse … period. I see several problems with that approach. First, why would the elected officials put such a burden on the firemen, who already volunteer their time training and protecting our town? Now the officials want them to spend more of their free time meeting with architects and working on plans for a new firehouse. In my opinion, since this would be a borough-owned building, the elected officials should have instructed the business administrator to take the lead on this project, with input from the firemen. In addition, the elected officials basically asked the firemen to design a building with no budget constraints. Ask me to build a home for myself and not have to worry how much it is going to cost, and I’ll build a mansion. At a minimum, the firemen should have been given a dollar amount that the officials felt the town could afford to come up with a plan that fits that budget. Finally, there should have been, at a minimum, a plan B and possibly a plan C along with a cost/benefit analysis of each. From that information, you select the best plan. When a motion was made at the April 25 Borough Council meeting to put a question on the November ballot regarding the new firehouse, the motion was defeated by a vote of 4 to 2. I heard opinions from some council members that they were elected to make those decisions. That is correct. But why wouldn’t you want to know how the residents felt, whether the vote was for or against building a new firehouse? Regardless of the vote, as elected officials you still have the right to make the final decision. I am a former volunteer fireman, fire chief, fire inspector, arson investigator and paid fireman for the Iselin section of Woodbridge. I hope the Milltown firemen understand that we do support them and want to give them something better than they have, but it is the cost of the entire project, which is estimated to be in the $5 million range, that the residents are concerned about. Gary Walters